Hunger does not take the summer off! Children and working families are even more at risk of food insecurity during the summer. In addition to fighting hunger year-round with programs such Mobile Markets, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle has several tactics for meeting the summer need. We’ll share them with you during this 4-part summer series:
- Summer hunger heats up
- Feeding kids through partnerships
- ‘Cooking Matters for Kids’ teaches healthy habits
- “Mobile Tastiness Machine” Food Truck feeds kids where they live
“What's going to happen over the summer? My child still needs food?!" These are familiar words to our Childhood Hunger Programs Supervisor, Amber Simmons, as the school year comes to an end.
“School counselors tell me that some students can't wait for summer to be over so they can come back to school to get their BackPack Buddies bag,” says Amber. “Hunger does not take a break just because school ends.”
It is sad to think that some children do not look forward to their summer vacation. But that is the reality for households that are food-insecure—households even more vulnerable to hunger in the summer months. Traditional-school-year kids who participate in the National School Lunch Program and BackPack Buddies, or who utilize our School Pantries, simply don’t have these same resources available to them while school is out.
In our seven counties alone, over 118,000 children applied to receive free/reduced-price lunch, according to the most recent data. That’s almost 44% of all children in these public school systems. Statewide, the number increases to almost 53% of children applying for free or reduced price lunch.
A Wake County parent says “BackPack Buddies has been a GREAT help. There have been times when all we've had is the food in the backpack and we've made it work. Assistance during track out periods would be helpful!” These kids and families need something to help make up for that loss.
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Solving summer hunger
Fortunately for families, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s pioneering approach to solving hunger fills the summer gap. We know that children especially lack the transportation and funds to access food in the summer. So we bring nourishing food to kids by preparing balanced meals for summer programs like EDCI (Part 2), keeping kids engaged while teaching healthy cooking skills (Part 3), and feeding kids where they live via our “Mobile Tastiness Machine” Food Truck route (Part 4).
Please check back in throughout the summer to read about how IFFS is working to make summer break something all kids look forward to!
Thanks to the support of IFFS donors, hundreds of children receive healthy food in the summer. Please give today to ensure these important programs remain available.
By Sally Bache, IFFS Administrative Services Manager. Contact: Sally@FoodShuttle.org